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Engineered Crops Boost Profits

Cotton farmers using genetically modified seed in India have seen increased yields and profits over a 5 year period in India.

Edyta Zielinska

FLICKR, SUBARCTICMIKE

Genetically modified (GM) crops can resist pests with the use of fewer pesticides. However, the fact that the seeds are usually sterile and must be bought from a producer every year has made some analysts fear that the approach would be inaccessible to smaller farms.  New research published yesterday (July 2) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed data from Indian farmers between 2002 and 2008 and found that small farms using GM crops were increasing crop yields by 24 percent and increasing profits by 50 percent.

Although earlier studies had also shown benefit for small farmers, those studies had only looked at data over a shorter time span, causing some to doubt the utility of GM crops over the long-term. “As Bt cotton is the only GM crop technology that is already widely used by smallholder farmers, these findings may add to the wider public...

 

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